Ocean cruises and river cruises both involve beautiful ships sailing on water, and both provide an exceptional vacation experience, but those experiences are incredibly different. Many travelers enjoy both types of cruises, but there are some reasons you might choose one over the other. Here’s a quick comparison.
Ships. Ocean cruise ships generally accommodate at least 1,000 passengers and sometimes as many as 6,000, plus crew. Multiple decks provide space for sunbathing, pools and hot tubs, sport courts, spas and fitness centers, Broadway-style theaters, lounges, and much more. River cruise ships are much smaller – most take on fewer than 200 passengers. They’re built slim and low to fit into small locks, glide under historic bridges and dock in relatively shallow water. Even with the smaller space, many river ships include amenities like a cocktail lounge, library, salon, gym, and perhaps even a small pool.
Itineraries. River ships don’t have room for as many onboard entertainment options as their ocean-going cousins, but they usually call on a new port every day; the focus is on exploring and enjoying the attractions on shore. Many ocean cruise itineraries include one or more days at sea, which provides time for exploring and enjoying the attractions on the ship.
Staterooms. Most ocean ships offer a variety of stateroom types, sizes, and amenities. These range from cozy interior staterooms to expansive, multi-bedroom suites; and from simple yet comfortable furnishings to the height of extravagance. River ships don’t offer much variety in their staterooms, but you can expect them to be luxurious and to have large windows (or even a small balcony) to help you appreciate the ever-changing views.
Dining. The numerous dining venues on ocean-going ships often include the classic main dining room, an all-day buffet, specialty restaurants, pizza stands and even pubs where you can grab a casual bite. River ships usually have just one dining area, but you can expect high-end cuisine that often features fresh ingredients brought on the ship that day.
Passengers. While most ocean and river cruises welcome passengers of all ages, multi-generational groups tend to choose ocean cruises, which have enough dining and entertainment options to please everyone. River cruises tend to attract adults who enjoy the more intimate atmosphere of a smaller ship and the focus on the ports of call.
Still not sure which type of cruise you like best? Ask Anita, your professional travel advisor, for more information, or to help you make plans to try each type of cruise for yourself.
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